Arsene Wenger reckons that money will destroy football.
Previously, Wenger predicted the death of transfer fees and was proven right just months later with Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United. And now it seems the Frenchman has been gazing into his crystal ball again.
Back in September, Wenger shared his theory that more and more players would be running down their contracts. This is because transfer fees have grown so high that clubs can no longer afford them.
Neymar’s summer move from Barcelona to PSG for a world record £200m is a prime example and the transfer that prompted Wenger to share his thoughts on the subject.
“Because the transfers are so high, you will see more and more players going into the final year of the contract because no club will want to pay the amount demanded. I’m convinced, in the next 10 years, it will become usual,” Wenger said.
In turn, clubs won’t be spending massive amounts on transfer fees so players can start demanding ridiculous wages instead with the ‘spare’ money.
Wenger’s prediction came true when Alexis signed for United with six months left on his contract. In return, Arsenal got Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Alexis is said to be on £600k-per-week in Manchester because they didn’t have to fork out £30m+ on his transfer fee. Way more than even Arsenal and even Manchester City could afford.
This isn’t the first time Wenger has predicted the future though.
Before this, all the way back in August 2016, the Frenchman predicted that it wouldn’t be long before we saw transfer fees as high as £200m.
Sure enough, a year later, Neymar’s move happened for that exact amount.
“It won’t be long before there is a £200m player,” Wenger said, reported City AM a year-and-a-half ago.
“At some stage [the rise in transfer fees] has to stop but as long as football continues to develop and becomes more popular you would say more money will come in.
“It is interesting to see that in every single activity today you either have a local business and you struggle to survive or you have a world business and the money comes in. Be it Google, Facebook or football or any other sport. If football continues to be popular it might become much higher in the future.”
Now, Wenger predicts these high wages, as well as other financial factors, will negatively impact the sport over time.
“When you look at the five big leagues in Europe, you can see that the unpredictability of the competition has gone down,” explained Wenger, reports ESPN.
“In December, we already knew four champions of five leagues, so it means something is not right in our game. The huge financial power of some clubs is destroying the competition.”
Only the richest European clubs will be able to afford the best players and the predictability of the sport will start to make it boring. The teams with the superstars will win and no one else will be able to compete.
Money will kill the competition, which, in turn, will probably kill the interest in the sport.
Even in the Premier League, which is supposed to be the most competitive league in the world, Manchester City spent the most on new players over the summer (£220.5m) and they’re 11 points clear at the top of the table with four months to spare.
Will Wenger’s latest prediction come true? Sadly, it probably will.